(Frankfurt) Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that he was not considering going to Kyiv at this stage as President Volodymyr Zelensky asked him to, judging by the way “irritating” the latter’s decision not to receive the head of state German.
Posted at 7:25 a.m.
Updated at 11:46 a.m.
When asked by public radio RBB whether he would go there, the Chancellor merely reiterated that he was in regular contact with the Ukrainian head of state and that he had also gone in Kyiv shortly before the outbreak of the Russian invasion on February 24, suggesting that a visit was not on the agenda.
“There is hardly any other head of state or government who has such intensive contacts with me,” insisted the German chief executive.
Earlier, an adviser to President Zelensky Oleksiy Arestovitch told the ZDF public broadcaster that Ukrainian officials were still waiting “for the chancellor so that he can take practical decisions immediately, including the delivery of weapons”, said on the German public broadcaster ZDF.
Mr. Zelensky recently received the President of the European Commission and the British Prime Minister.
But this pressing invitation comes against a backdrop of tensions between Germany and Ukraine, after President Zelensky refused on Tuesday to receive German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier who wanted to go to Kyiv with delegations from Poland and the Baltic countries.
A “useless affront” according to der Spiegel, which went badly in Germany. Mr Scholz called the decision “irritating to say the least”. “It would have been good to receive it,” he said on RBB.
The German head of state, whose role is largely ceremonial, is criticized for his diplomacy of rapprochement with Russia when he was Angela Merkel’s foreign minister. However, he recently made his mea culpa, acknowledging that he had made “mistakes” at the time.
“Trained in War”
Ukraine considers Germany generally too timorous in its support. The adviser however noted the progress of Berlin which had “started with the refusal” to arrive at “the discussion of the supply of heavy weapons. »
The country already delivers defensive weapons to Ukraine, but Olaf Scholz has been under pressure for several days, even within his majority, to give the green light to the sending of offensive equipment, in particular armored vehicles.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Economy, environmental heavyweights in the government, have called on the Chancellor to decide in favor of these deliveries, while the Social Democratic Minister of Defense repeats over and over again that the reserves of the Bundeswehr are exhausted.
“There is only one who must show the way: it is Chancellor Olaf Scholz”, declared in an interview with the daily Die Welt Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, head of the Defense Committee at the Bundestag and member of the Liberals, allies of Mr. Scholz in the government.
But the delivery of heavy military equipment still encounters resistance within the SPD. MP Joe Weingarten pointed out the danger of being “gradually drawn into war”.
Others believe that such a decision could be taken only in the event of a new Russian escalation, in particular the possible use of chemical weapons.
Ukraine sees things differently. Time is running out, because “for every minute a tank does not come, it is our children who die, who are raped, who are killed”, asserted Mr. Arestovitch.
The German authorities “saw the terrible images” of the conflict, which he said recall the destruction of Berlin in 1945: what the Russian army is doing in Ukraine “is no different”.